At home with

There’s noth­ing in Tes­suti di­rec­tor Ali McIntosh’s Auck­land apart­ment that doesn’t feel like her.

Homestyle New Zealand - - CONTENTS - IN­TER­VIEW Alice Lines PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Michelle Weir

Ali McIntosh.

For more than a decade, store owner Ali McIntosh has been seek­ing, spot­ting, sourc­ing and sell­ing home­ware treats and trea­sures for Tes­suti, the Pon­sonby in­sti­tu­tion that’s a long­time go-to of those in the know. She lives in an apart­ment not far from her store.

Ali, how do you like small-space liv­ing? Did you have to sac­ri­fice much from your pre­vi­ous home

when you moved in? I moved here from a slightly larger apart­ment, so the tran­si­tion has been grad­ual. I did have to sac­ri­fice a few things, but I’ve kept all of my favourite pieces of fur­ni­ture. It makes you look hard at what you love and, of course, need.

What do you en­joy most about liv­ing

here? This apart­ment doesn’t have an out­door area, so the park next door is magic – it’s like a big, beau­ti­ful backyard. I love the New York vibe this home has, es­pe­cially the brick wall that runs the length of the liv­ing, kitchen and din­ing ar­eas, and be­ing part of the vi­brant com­mu­nity right out­side is fun too.

How would you de­scribe your in­te­rior

style? It’s mod­est, re­fined and elegant. I col­lect ob­jects and pieces that in­spire me and feel au­then­tic.

I think cre­at­ing a stylish home is about the plea­sure of dis­cov­ery and craft­ing mo­ments of grace. At Tes­suti, we gather to­gether ev­ery­thing we love, and help •

oth­ers do the same for them­selves; the store is a very per­son­alised space, and a real re­flec­tion of what we’d like to live with our­selves. We have em­pa­thy for those we serve, and try to make some­thing worth talk­ing about and that peo­ple would miss if we were gone. Eth­i­cal busi­ness prac­tices are some­thing I grew up with, and a sub­ject close to my heart, as is giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity that sup­ports you.

How do you se­lect de­sign­ers and prod­ucts to stock?

Tes­suti has been trad­ing for 28 years – I’ve owned it for eight, and man­aged it for four prior to that – and has a lot of long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ships with sup­pli­ers. We tend to grav­i­tate to­wards owner-op­er­ated busi­nesses, so we can have a di­rect re­la­tion­ship with the de­sign­ers and mak­ers, both here and over­seas.

You’ve carved out an area of your front room for a home of­fice – do you of­ten work from here?

Yes –

I love hav­ing a ded­i­cated of­fice space where I can do ad­min and work on the web­site undis­turbed. I make sure I al­ways have flow­ers or fo­liage on the desk, and items on the shelves that are sim­ple and calming.

My desk is long enough for two peo­ple to work at when re­quired, but if I want to have a plan­ning ses­sion and cre­ative time, I tend to do it away from here. •

Do you have to re­sist buy­ing things for your­self when you’re sourc­ing for the shop?

All the time, although liv­ing in a small space means there’s not a lot of room for more, so I buy things for the store in­stead. Ex­cept jew­ellery – there’s al­ways room for that.

What are some of your most trea­sured items that have come home from work with you?

My Vase d’Avril by Tsé & Tsé, Man­tis lamp by Bernard Schot­t­lander, Case Study planter by Moder­nica, rugs by Nodi, cush­ions and throws by Mis­soni, Dome pen­dant and glasses by Mon­mouth Glass Stu­dio, and Wundaire and Rachel Car­ley ce­ram­ics, be­cause I love to cook and en­ter­tain.

I’m al­ways buy­ing can­dles and per­fume, and some re­cent ac­qui­si­tions I’m en­joy­ing are my Astier de Vil­latte in­cense and ce­ram­ics. Oh dear, it sounds bad – but I’ve been with the store for a long time!

What’s the se­cret to a peren­ni­ally chic in­te­rior?

Life is en­riched by the small, good de­ci­sions we make every day, and by con­sum­ing with the very same care that things were cre­ated with – so make choices that make sense in your head and sit well in your heart. Se­lect items that you con­nect to, with sto­ries you love. To quote Rosita Mis­soni, “When you have con­fi­dence in the things you love, ev­ery­thing looks right to­gether.” tes­suti.co.nz

LEFT Shelves by String Fur­ni­ture hold favourite finds in each of the apart­ment’s two liv­ing spa­ces; their lightweight look is ideal for small homes. The paint­ings seen here are by one of Ali’s friends, artist Max Thomp­son. BE­LOW Vases by Astier de Vil­latte, a draw­ing by Chris­tiane Spangs­berg and the Ebony in­cense holder by Walk in the Park rub shoul­ders with an Akari light sculp­ture by Isamu Noguchi for Vi­tra. BOT­TOM Ali uses light­ing to cre­ate dis­tinct zones within each space and likes to light from the side to set the mood. In the rear liv­ing room, the height of the Man­tis floor lamp can be ad­justed to suit over the Stu­dio daybed by Er­col from Good Form. The Tassled Wool rug is from Nodi’s new range.

BE­LOW A keen en­ter­tainer, Ali’s al­ways on the look­out for ce­ram­ics. Among the items fill­ing her Lun­dia shelv­ing unit are hand-painted crys­tal Maja glasses by Or­refors de­signed in 1976, bowls by Rachel Car­ley and plates by Wundaire. The lamp is a Lampe Gras 210, and the paint­ing is by Max Thomp­son. BOT­TOM Mak­ing the most of the apart­ment’s mod­est kitchen has been a chal­lenge, says Ali. “Win­ter en­ter­tain­ing usu­ally in­volves slow cook­ing so I can pre­pare it ahead of time, and one-pot din­ners are my best friend!” RIGHT In the din­ing area, vin­tage chairs by Bau­mann from The Vitrine sur­round an an­tique French wine-tast­ing ta­ble. Max Thomp­son strikes again on the wall. Ali also has a col­lapsi­ble ta­ble she uses for guests when en­ter­tain­ing. “That’s one of the things I love most about this space: it can be eas­ily adapted.”

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